Why the Dragon be reined in
The violent clash between Indian and Chinese troops on the late evening of June 15 at Galwan Valley is going to leave a long term impact on India-China relations. In this clash both sides suffered casualties. It’s important to mention that it is the Chinese side which has unilaterally tried to change the status quo at Line of Actual Control (LAC).
The fact of the matter is that when the whole world is suffering from Chinese Virus, why is China creating problems on the Indian side of LAC? Has India’s immense infrastructure development along LAC irked China? Is China trying to demonstrate its dominance as it is facing criticism all over for hiding the truth of this virus? It’s not letting anyone investigate the origin of its own virus. Or is China afraid of losing the global supply chain to India? To my mind, the recent Chinese attitude towards Indian border is more about the economy. China is afraid of losing investment to India as the US has almost gone full-fledged against China and here it is worth mentioning that even before this pandemic, the US had advised its companies to sift their manufacturing base from China to other countries. And countries like Japan and Korea are doing the same.
Here, something important needs to be contemplated seriously. Why has a country with so many contradictions not been restrained yet? We have seen the United States taking some economic actions against China, but military action has not been seen yet. Some experts argue that the US doesn’t take military action against China because it has become a power like the US itself. But is it true? If we look at the total military expenditure of the US outside the country (global security commitments), then we find it even bigger than Chinese military budgets. Now, it’s being argued in the US that the country should cut overseas military spending and if the US does this, then it will save billions of dollars. And this amount can be used for creating more sophisticated weapons.
Having said this, it is noteworthy that despite being so strong militarily, the US hasn’t tackled this Chinese problem it should have. Few experts think China will challenge the US in a decade. However, if one looks at the border dispute of China and its per capita income compared to the US, it is almost wrong to say that China can dominate the US in a decade. For China to dominate the US, it would take more than two decades. The fact of the matter is that the US is losing battle of perception. The US is involved in many countries. Therefore, it cannot only focus on China. Gradually, even in Africa, China is investing more than the US. It’s not that the US can’t invest. Chinese are in a haste to occupy all the resources in Africa. Owing to this, some African countries have fallen in the Chinese debt trap. Therefore, the better option before the US and European countries is to shift the supply chain from China to other countries. In defence also, the US will have to concede the fact that many countries in the last two decades have emerged as global powers, capable of shifting global power balance.
It is vital to mention here that even China knows it better that India is the only potential country which can be a threat to it. In the last few years, Indian economy has attracted more foreign investment than China. And China knows it better that it is only India that can challenge China from every angle. India has a better workforce than China has. India has more demographic dividend than China has. India has no land problems. India is also an important player in the Indian Ocean. These are the things that China does not tolerate. Even India has opposed Chinese BRI (The Belt and Road Initiative) project, through which China wants to capture the world market for decades. Moreover, the recent Amendment by the Modi government in FDI, which says that neighbouring countries wanting to invest in Indian companies would first need the government approval, has sent out a message to China that India would not accept the Chinese monopoly over the market. Even the PM Modi’s Atamnirbhar Bharat (self- reliant India) has threatened Chinese as they are afraid of losing the Indian market. In last few years, India has also given a cogent fight to China militarily and the Doklam standoff was one of the examples.
Against this backdrop, it is very clear that China wants to contain India as it is the only country that can be a bigger threat to Chinese monopoly over the market. However, if it is a trade war and China wants to fight this war more militarily and less economically, then what options does India have? Should India also indulge in this Chinese misadventure? Yes. On the military front, India should not leave a stone unturned to save its territory. If China is yielding to any misadventure, it should be repaid heavily. Even the whole world knows who the occupier is. It is China that occupied Tibet. It is China that is forcibly occupying Hong Kong and also eyeing Taiwan. It is China that has territorial disputes with 23 countries, and surprisingly, few of them don’t even share a border with China. It is China that is openly violating maritime laws by claiming the whole South China Sea.
Hence, this border dispute created by China in Ladakh has given an opportunity to India to show its strength before the world. If it’s a war, then India should fight this war for peace. Even India should increase its naval presence in the South China Sea. India should support all those countries that have border disputes with China. We shouldn’t forget that China supports Pakistan every time to go against India. It is instigating Nepal also. Not only this, China has been supplying its modern weapons to Pakistan so that it could target India. Here it is important to mention that if there is any military escalation with China, Pakistan will definitely jump in this. It is because China has total control over Pakistan’s economy. And this is the reason why Pakistan will jump in this India-China conflict. Therefore, supporting anti-China countries is never a wrong move. It’s tit for tat. The more India confronts the Dragon, the sooner it will become the centre of power, which can also be economically beneficial to India.
By Ravi Mishra